"The Freshman 15"
I quote the freshman 15 because sometimes, it is more like 30. The food presence in college can be your best friend and worst enemy. "Best friend" because when you are out of money and tired of eating Ramen Noodles, you can attend every event that includes food. "Worst enemy" because of that fact that food is ALWAYS around; therefore, you eat. The daily Netflix and bag of chips routine with your friends will catch up. Freshman are given huge amounts of freedom and sometimes forget to take control: freshman have no set dinner time and nobody telling them what they can and can't eat. Have no fear, there are many ways to avoid the "Freshman 15."
1. Access to gym facilities.
Make it a personal goal to work out at least three times a week. If you don't like working out alone, take a buddy and stay fit together. If you do not like working out with only machines, take a group fitness class and enjoy getting in shape. Remember, a body in motion stays in motion, while a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Don't fall into the perpetuating cycle of not working out and telling yourself "tomorrow."
2. LEARN TO SAY "NO."
This one may not seem as obvious at first, but within the first few weeks of school you will quickly understand it. Almost every social gathering or event involves food. You will soon learn that "Hey, want to come get Bdubs with us" or "We're going to Gordon's and then studying" quickly catches up with you. It's okay to be social with friends, but when you are excessively eating and trying to socialize, you have to learn to slow down. You can still be attending the social gatherings but grabbing a water instead of a cookie. Remember that eating out also requires money, so if fitness is not the only thing that will stop you, keeping money in your pocket definitely should!
3. Avoid excess alcohol.
Okay, I'll admit, this one is a tad bit difficult to fulfill especially when attending a school such as Wisconsin, but this one is huge! On average, a small shot contains 56 calories, while a cup of beer contains 156 calories. If you have a regular day's intake of calories, and then go out during the night, these calories will be sure to quickly make its mark on you. Drinking on both a Friday and Saturday night, and then not exercising will no doubt be a one way ticket to the freshman 15 (not to mention technically not being legal).
4. Stress and rest.
Simply put, everyone is stressed in college. With finals, midterms, quizzes and homework, you've won the lottery if you get a full eight hours of sleep. The unfortunate truth is that excess stress is highly associated with weight gain. Lack of sleep also causes weight gain and by putting the two together you are hurting yourself. Learn how to reduce stress and make a schedule so you get a full night's rest. If you enjoy bike riding because it helps relieve stress, be sure to include that in your schedule. You must sharpen the saw and learn how to reward your body in order to keep it healthy.
5. Make a routine.
I've had friends my freshman year that would eat at all times of the day; I remember a kid who ate every night at 3 a.m. While this can make you feel free and like a rebel, it can take a toll on your body and cause you to wake up one day realizing it's too late to stop the habit. The best way to avoid this from happening is to make a simple routine for yourself. If you have a class at 8:50 a.m. everyday, then eat breakfast at 8 a.m. everyday, and then lunch and dinner at a consistent time. This will help you avoid eating snacks and will keep your metabolism in check. Consistency is key!
6. Carry a healthy snack.
It can be difficult to make it back to the cafeteria in time between classes, and this can cause you to go for unhealthy snacks such as a snicker's bar and soda. To prevent this from happening, carry a healthy snack that you can eat in between classes. Carrying an apple, banana, orange or even a bag of peanuts can help you push from one class to another and keep you in shape.
Though it may seem difficult, avoiding the "freshman 15" is easier than it seems. All you need is will power and you can easily stay healthy throughout college. Just because there is a wide variety of food does not mean you need to eat it all. Use your access to the gym and stay healthy. Not only will you do better in classes, but you will feel better about yourself.